Brent above $109 on stimulus hopes
Brent crude steadied above $109 a barrel today on hopes Europe would take further action to tackle its debt crisis, while supply worries stemming from North Sea maintenance and Middle East tensions also supported prices.
The European Central Bank last week said it may again start buying government bonds to reduce crippling Spanish and Italian borrowing costs, but details of how it will stabilise the bloc's bond markets have yet to be fleshed out.
"The market is trying to interpret everything that's coming out of the ECB so there is a lot of indecisiveness across assets," said Ben Le Brun, a Sydney-based market analyst at OptionsXpress.
"The uncertainty, coupled with tension in the Middle East, is giving a slightly positive impact to oil prices."
Brent crude for September delivery inched down 2 cents to $109.53 a barrel this morning, after closing at the highest level in 11 weeks. US crude edged down 13 cents to $92.07.
The drop in crude prices were kept in check as the violence in Syria and Iran's dispute with the West over Tehran's nuclear program continued to keep investors worried about the potential threat to oil supply from the region.